We were talking about strongholds of belief, of either truth or lies, being built up in the core of our beings. Most strongholds begin when we are children. Something happens to us, or our parent or other family member says something to us, and our interpretation of that event can lay a brick of a stronghold in our hearts, whether our interpretation was correct or not.
By the time most people reach adulthood, they have a mix of strongholds, of deeply-held beliefs, at the core of their beings, some of truth, some of lies.
“For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.” Pro 23:7
What happens when we have a deeply held belief about something? The strongholds that we cherish govern our feelings, and out of our feelings, ultimately our actions. The ancient Romans expressed this truth in their language: the Latin word for “character” is the plural form of the Latin word for “habit.” That which we habitually do, a plurality of times, becomes our character.
Do we routinely display the character of Christ, or of the flesh? Do we struggle with depression, or resentment, or restlessness, or temper, or insensitivity, or doubt, or pride, or gossip? Even one ungodly character trait is a red flag on top of a stronghold of some lie. It is up to us, then, to be transformed in our outward actions by the renewing of our minds — trading the lie of the devil for the truth of God.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Gal 5:19-25
The outward actions of the flesh are here contrasted against the outward actions of the Spirit. If Paul needs to exhort born-again Christians to practice one but not the other, to walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh, it appears that we may do one or the other, or as is the case with most of us, a little of both.
lies are not harmless
truth sets us free
tearing down strongholds
establishing a stronghold of truth
training our hearts in truth
rabbit trail one: God’s word applies to me
rabbit trail two: God’s word is unfailing
thirty minutes a day can change your life
thirty minutes a day, day two
thirty minutes a day, days three and four
thirty minutes a day, day five
there is too much, let me sum up